Friday, October 23, 2009

Too Good To Be True....

I have been very careful with my pennies lately, but I have to admit that when one artist comes to town, I SEE HER. Thanks to Betty, I am infatuated with the music of Miss Brandi Carlile. She has the the most amazing voice and lyrical ballads. She is also from Ravensdale, which is quite close to where I grew up. 

Her most popular song is probably 'The Story'. She has the ability to blend rock, country, folk, indie, you name it, she can sing it. She also has two back up singers known as the twins (Phil and Tim), who make seeing this live act almost spiritual.  So we see her every time she comes to town. We're pretty diligent about picking up tickets when they go on sale because she usually sells out quickly in Portland. So I bought tickets back in July right when they went on sale at ticketmaster just like I always do.  
Well..... We had no idea that our seats were in the front row until we were escorted. Betty and I were speechless. Was this right? Front row in the Schnitz? Did he read our tickets wrong? Nope. We saw Brandi up close and seriously I knew it would be a once in a lifetime thing. Amazing really. 
If she comes to your town.... see her. You won't regret it! Thank you Clackamas Fred Meyer Ticketmaster!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Last week Betty and I were supposed to hike and backpack a 20 mile loop in the Enchantments in Washington State. We were one weekend too late. We had been planning for this trip for months, even going so far as to apply and receive permits to hike through this amazing wonderland during the turning of the Birch trees. It wasn't meant to be this year I guess. We rallied though and decided to see what the Olympic National Forest was all about. Unfortunately, on this particular weekend, multiple fronts moved through the area, producing as much as 3 inches of rain in one day! We forged on though with full recognition of the fact that this might be our rainiest trip ever! 

Luckily, we were able to use my Mom's place as a home base. From her house, we drove to Port Angeles and up to Hurricane Ridge. It was beautiful!

We also rented a wide angle camera lens for what we thought would be epic Enchantments photos. We made the best of it. I am kind of interested in photography and did a little dance after putting the lens on my camera. Betty caught me in action.
There was a good deal of cloud cover, but it was still stunning!
Even the drive down was even pretty.
We stayed in Port Angeles one night and decided to get some seafood for dinner. We also walked around this super charming little town and found what I think is the best magazine store ever! Wish I remembered the name, but if you look at the photo above, it is just to the right at the bottom of the stairs.
Camera fun downtown....
We headed East towards the coast the next day and had to stop and drool over Crescent Lake. 

We took some photos and then continued on to Ozette Lake. The hike was about 3.5 miles and we were lucky the rain was light. It was also a different experience because we walked along a boardwalk type trail. The rain forest was so marshy that they had to construct the wooded walkway for when the rains came. We understood the utility of the trail the next day on our way out. But first, the hike in-
It felt like we were in some fairy tale walking through a green wonderland. At times it was so dark I felt like I was in a Bernstein Bears book. It was great!

We were happy.
We arrived at the beach to find a deer family walking around. It was foggy and the beach felt completely uninhabited(by humans that is). There was abundant bird life and ridiculous amounts of sea creatures and plant life viewable while the tide was out. Our timing was perfect.
Gorgeous and Peaceful!
A few of what seemed like millions of sea anemones!

A few other couples strolled in later that evening. There were cute little campsites and we chose the one that seemed to have the best protection from the elements. Turns out it really didn't matter all that much because at about 10 that night it started to rain hard and didn't stop for about 16 hours. 
The next morning we had to shove ourselves outside to pack up camp. It got to a point where staying dry wasn't really possible. It was really wet.
We made it through about 3/4 of the hike out without a complete washout. Betty knew it was coming though and when we got there, all we could do was laugh. We walked in water up to our shins for about 5 minutes. It had been a long time since I had squishy toes!
On our drive home, we stopped and took more photos of the fall foliage and Crescent Lake.

It was still raining.
The picture above is Crescent Lake with the wide angle lens.These were leaves on the lake bottom.

We stopped several times on our drive back to Mom's house taking random photos. It was a nice relaxing and wet trip! I look forward to seeing Olympic National Forest during the dry season!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Memaloose Lake with the ladies

Two weekends ago we had a ladies trip to the Stix. It was a blast, literally. It was the weekend before hunting season and we found ourselves passing tons of people who were out in the middle of nowhere shooting at targets. There was even a machine gun area. It was so loud and also worrisome to Betty and myself since we had chosen the trail head. Luckily, the noise from the rounds dissipated and we were able to enjoy ourselves.

We were ready to hit the trail!
While I was on my trip in Eastern Oregon, I brought back Blackberry Brandy for Betty. We all had a sip. It was delicious.
After hiking into the lake, we ditched our packs and kept climbing up to the top, South Fork Point I think it was called?? There were views of the three sisters,  Helens, Hood, Adams, Broken Top, it was beautiful and the weather was perfect.

Yoga poses.....
Yeah, I had a cramp after this little tricky poo.
Ann Rocks!
Mt. Hood in the summer. Can't wait to see some snow on that Mountain.

Dinner included a variety of mt. house dinners, crusty bread, gouda and wine, all around the campfire. 
The next day we hiked around the lake, sunned our selves on large rocks, and climbed trees.

I also forgot to mention the part where we were gathering fire wood and Betty, Desiree and Julie's dog were all stung several times by some very angry bees. It WAS NOT a highlight and really kind of scary. Luckily we had some benedryl for the poor dog and no one had an allergic reaction. 
Crazy mushrooms on the hike out.
It was a great trip with the ladies! 

Friday, October 2, 2009

tasty eats

It had been a while since I had my friend Erica over for some healthy food. I decided to make a roasted red pepper puree, with roasted veggies, whole wheat pasta, crusty bread and Two buck chuck. For those of you who do not know about two buck chuck, it is a $3 bottle of wine (Charles Shaw) from Trader Joes. I recommend it highly and I'm afraid $3 buck chuck wine has made it extremely difficult for me to purchase a $7 glass of wine while I'm out for a meal! Enough about the wine though......

The meal:

(I have to confess that while cooking I was watching online episodes of gossip girl on my computer. I love internet TV! Who needs to pay for cable anymore?)

I was inspired to make the roasted red pepper puree after my boss brought it into work last week. It is a recipe that has been posted on low-fat recipe websites. I made it a couple of years ago and was obsessed with it. I used the puree sauce on sandwiches, eggs, steamed vegetables, pasta, pretty much anything that needed some flavor and saucey goodness.

You start by roasting 6 red peppers on the top rack of the oven. After they have blackened, take them out and put them in a paper bag and seal it for about 15 minutes. Take them out, remove the black skins, the seeds and the stem. Throw them in the blender. While you are preparing those, sautee 6 minced garlic and 2 Tbl of fresh thyme in about 3 Tbl of olive oil. Once they are brown, add them to the peppers in the blender. Puree all that and Joila- you have the sauce. I also add salt and pepper to taste, which is probably more salt than I should, but it tastes oh so good!

The veggies are oh so easy! Cut up one eggplant, butternut squash, Onion quarters, zuchini and cherry tomatoes in equal sized peices. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with Olive oil, balsamic Vinegar and salt & pepper. Put them in the oven until tender. After they are done you can add more balsamic vinegar for taste.

Boil whole wheat pasta and assemble the pasta, veggies, puree and parmesan cheese. Add some crusty bread and wine and you have a meal!